Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dreaming of a Summer Tea

This is my work on Lorrie's Summer block -  a cheery bouquet of flowers. And that is just what is needed during the dark days of winter. Even stitching flowers can lift the spirits.

And here's my work on Ritva's Tea Time block. You can't really tell that almost all the stem stitches are overwrapped with some type of sparkly sulky, but it is. A couple of seams have teeny-tiny rick rack. Another seam has teeny-tiny cast on stitches.

So, I'm ready for a Summer Tea Party. But first the snow has to melt a little.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Baby Blankies

For my niece and husband's new baby, Wyatt, born Feb. 3. It's supposed to look like puzzle pieces, the black ones being empty places where a piece has not been put in. I still have to put a label on the back and wash it so it's nice and soft before I mail it off to Tennessee.

And since I managed to get one for Wyatt finished I thought I better finish one up for Nola, Wyatt's cousin, who was born last year some time that I can't remember without looking it up in the family tree. Nola is my nephew and wife's daughter. This will go to Tennessee too. And some day I will get there to see the babies, hopefully before they are all grown up. Both babies are my brother's grandkids. The other, Liam, is over in Germany with his parents. My nephew, Liam's dad, is in the army. And I have met little Liam who turned two in January. But, I haven't given him a blanket yet. I think he will get an I Spy quilt or a Bug Jar quilt when I get my butt in gear.

And, that's the family tree lesson for today.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Encrusted RR Finale

This is the last block I had to work on in an Encrusted RR. This is Deb's block. I started by adding a silk ribbon fan on top of some lace that was already there. Then I added a crochet heart and put a silk ribbon rose on top of that. Then there was still a little blank space in this section next to a basket I think Peggy Sue added and that buttonhole stitched seam someone else stitched so I added some "kiko flower stitch" flowers in that little spot with some heart buttons and beads to the right of that. If the crochet on the heart appears a little weird...well, when I uploaded pics from my camera I noticed a big gray blob on it. It was a big glob of fuzz like what I just cleaned out of the bobbin case of my sewing machine. I didn't want to take pic all over again so tried to use a clone tool in Adobe Photoshop Elements to take fuzz blob off. And, since I never know what I'm doing when in Elements...well, if the crochet looks a little funny you know the rest of the story.

And this little corner in the upper right needed something too so I added some roses and french knots and a meandering seam of leaves and bullions which helped to anchor a spider web that was already added by a previous stitcher.

And then I stitched hearts along a seam and they just seemed so blah so I added some heart buttons in the middle and they still seemed so blah, blah so I covered them all up with some variegated dmc french knots. So now they are not blah...they are just knotty. And finally...I added a crocheted basket with some bullion and cast on stitch flowers and leaves.

And, here 'tis the whole crusty block after 4 persons had their way with it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stitching the Bird

I saw this motif in one of my embroidery books and thought it would be right for this block. I just thought she was cute hanging on to the daisy upside down. But now that I look at it I wonder if maybe the bird should have been right side up and the daisy upside down. Hmmm, well, it's there to stay now. This is Nicki's block for the "For the Birds" RR.

Here's a more detailed pic of the bird whic I did mostly in stem stitch using two strands of DMC sometimes in different colors and other times just one color. 4 different colors of blue were used all together.

Since someone dropped out of the RR we decided we would all work on a joint block for each person from here on in. I chose this one which is more of a fantasy bird block. Nicki had the lace motif already on the block. I'm not good at dressing up motifs so left that for someone else to do. Instead I added a few fantasy flowers and birds.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Crazy Stuff I Did During the Winter Blizzard

It's snowing again. The older I get the more I don't appreciate the snow. When the seed catalogs start arriving I yearn for Spring. My seeds are ordered so I will be starting them soon under lights indoors. Meanwhile, I used the latest "snow days" off work to catch up on some RRs, etc.
One of the ladies with one of the Yahoo Groups just suffered a heart attack. Lots of women decided to give her a "Hearts and Flowers" shower. Make a 8.5 (unfinished) block and partially embellish and send. Within the next couple of days it will go off to Marilynne who is recuperating now, thank goodness.

This is my stitching on Gerry's "Seamwork only" block. My seams meander out into the patches. Gerry asked for flowers incorporated into her seams so she got them. I know she likes daffodils and hummingbirds so That's what she got. She's going to make a jacket with her blocks. I think I have the same pattern from the 70s.

And, I was thinking Spring when I stitched on Helina's block for the Spring RR. There is not enough contrast in the picture to see the white silk ribbon flowers that meander up in the upper right corner. And I had a hard time finding a green to make the fern on the swirly green/white patch so used a yellow green. I love forget-me-nots so you will notice both Gerry's block above and Helina's here have them. I think I may repeat them a few more times on other blocks I have sitting here on my dining room table.

And, tomorrow, it's back off to work, through the snow and the cold and wondering how many years before retirement. When I retire I will be a hermit, sewing and gardening and reading my days away.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Farmer's Wife Sampler Blocks. Do They Look Gay?

I'm finally posting the Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks I made last weekend. I seem to be picking the easy blocks to make first and saving the more difficult for last which is against my nature. I usually tackle the hard chores before the easier ones, eat the foods on my plate less desireable before I get the potatoes or bread (my favs).

Anyway, the last blocks I made seemed to be getting too orangey. I am not a fan of orange so don't know how so much of it ended up in my 30s reproduction stash. Some things just happen. So, last weekend I used more purples. This block is called "Calico Puzzle." I wonder why but am not so interested as to go find out.

This block is called "Contrary Wife". There was no "Contrary Husband" to go with it in the FW Sampler book but I know there is probably one out there somewhere. Again, who names these things?

And this is a "Friendship Star".

Did I mention I am using 30s reproductions in memory of Grandma and her quilts? She would have called my blocks gay. Are they?

Friday, February 4, 2011

I Spy an Alliance

I finally got up the nerve to finish a little 16x16 quilt for entry into the Alliance for American Quilts contest. I don't have any illusions of winning anything but I can dream. This is the first contest involving quilting I have ever entered.

This is the entire 16x16 quilt. I fussy cut scraps into 1 and 1.5 inch pieces and almost went cross-eyed. My vision is not the best to begin with. I must admit it was a lot of fun looking for different items to include.

Here's a close up of part of the quilt and some of the little pics. I'm really not a designer of any sort so I had a hard time figuring out what to do to make it turn out the correct size including binding, but I did manage.

And here's another closeup of a different section of the quilt. With the entry I had to include an "artist's statement". Mine follows:

A, B, C,
One, Two, Three,
Red, Blue, Yellow,
I spy a bee.
Do you?

My grandkids and I belong to a "Snuggle, Cuddle, Play and Learn with Quilts Alliance". I have made ABC, I Spy, Tell a Story, Match, Paperdoll, Racetrack and holiday quilts for my grandkids and other children. I had fun digging through my scrap basket looking for teeny-tiny objects to assemble into this quilt.

Oh, did I forget to mention that the theme is alliances?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why and How? I Don't Know!

This is my work on Lisa's Autumn block and the last in this RR. I wish I could give good tips, tutorials or instructions on what I do but actually I don't give the process any conscious thought. Sorry. My job demands detailed and logical thinking so when I get home I want mindless activities. When I first get a set of blocks in the mail I "ooooow" and "awwww" over all that has been done before me and then read the booklet of likes and dislikes. Then I look through all the blank blocks looking for one that jumps out at me. Sometimes none of them do so I put them back in the bag for a few days. After I have chosen a block I know exactly what I am going to do but most times I don't. In this case Lisa had a lot of textured fabrics in her block so I guess I thought I needed some texture in my stitching. My next step was to look through some of my embroidery books for some Autumn appearing motifs.  I found the one on top right and stitched it on to the fabric. I like variegated threads to used some brown variegated DMC and some sage colored thread for the leaves. When that was complete I looked for another motif for the other corner. I found one that I thought would look good with bullions and this time used brown and coral threads for the flowers but used a variegated thread for the stems and leaves. Then I thought the middle needed filling and since Lisa mentioned in her booklet that she liked vines I meandered a stem stitch vine in gold through the blank spaces, added some leaves here and there and then added  kiko flower stitches in either a variegated white and a variegated pale yellow  here and there. So, I guess some might say that the vine now leads your eye off the block and I probably should not have done so or some might say that the gold vine doesn't match the other colors of the block or some might say the whole thing looks like crap. But I really don't think of such things. I don't understand such things. I'm mindless.